April 25, 2024

‘This has been the easiest and the best decision I have made’

NDSU’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program gives students the flexibility and accessibility they need to further their nursing careers while working full-time. 

Since its inception, students from across the country and from various nursing roles have enrolled in NDSU’s online RN to BSN program. Students are attracted to the evidence-based curriculum which is designed to accommodate nurses who balance personal life, work, and school.

Students learn in a supportive and collaborative environment to advance their nursing knowledge and to cultivate leadership skills that will enhance their nursing practice. Students develop a greater understanding of the importance of relationships and professional communication. Other important aspects of the curriculum include safety, ethics and working effectively in complex health care systems.

Kathleen Swanson, NDSU assistant professor of practice, was one of two faculty members who helped develop the online program in 2016. The program accommodates students’ busy schedules and was created to build on the prior education students received through their associate degree program. 

Students interact regularly with professors and peers in their cohort, creating lasting relationships. Students appreciate that they can immediately apply what they have learned to their current nursing practice.   

“What students learn from each other is incredible. It really creates a sense of community and support,” Swanson said.

Read more about three student experiences in the program, including the benefits that translated to their careers and the relationships they built as students. 

Name: JP Mansour
Graduation year from program: 2021
Current program enrolled in: NDSU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice 
Current job: Senior RN in Sanford’s Emergency Department

Why did you choose the online RN to BSN program?
I chose to enroll in the NDSU RN to BSN online program because when I began working at Sanford in the emergency room, I heard a lot of good things about the program from previous students. I also saw how involved the university is in the community and it really spoke to me. And, from my own experience, I know the quality of nurse that comes from here.

Who’s the program a good fit for?
The program is a great fit for RNs who are currently working full-time, who have busy lives and families. Those are people that I actually attended the program with. We all had similar stories, we were similar in age and I made a lot of good friends during that time.

What role did this program have on career advancement?
Things opened for me. It empowered me to look a little further into opportunities and explore them. The higher education gave me more confidence. It provided me with this empowerment that I chose to seek things out and at the same time people heard that I completed the program here at NDSU and they sought me out. The opportunities came from many areas. One was education within the department I worked in. I became a department educator. I became a mentor. Many people reached out to me that were thinking about applying to the program and I was the biggest advocate for this program.

What was beneficial about the program?
Quite a few things. One was the relationships I made with faculty and some of my peers in the program. I gained quite a bit of self-satisfaction from doing what I’m doing. I saw the reaction by my kids knowing that dad is in college and pursuing his dreams and accomplishing his goals. My confidence level climbed. It made me feel really good about myself and what I was doing for the community.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program?
You’re not going to regret it. The education that you’ll receive at NDSU is going to take you down many different avenues. Your journey may have started when you got your RN, but after your BSN, it continues and there are more roads and more opportunities to explore.

Name: Iryna Hoppe
Graduation year: 2024
Current job: Perham Health Labor and Delivery, PRN at Essentia Health Fargo Labor and Delivery

What has been beneficial about the program?
I love how flexible the instructors are. The convenience of having this program online and that I can work at my own pace has been wonderful. The work life balance in this program has been very easy. The biggest benefit is that this program will open new career opportunities for me.

How has this online program fit in your busy schedule?
This has been the easiest and the best decision I have made for myself and my family while working full-time and obtaining a 4.0 GPA. It’s wonderful to know that I can improve my education while still being a full-time employee at Perham Health Labor & Delivery, PRN at Essentia Health Fargo Labor & Delivery, be a wife and a mother to four wonderful kids.

How has this program prepared you for success after graduation?
This program has expanded my knowledge on effective communication, therapeutic communication, leadership skills, evidence-based research and even management skills. I look forward to utilizing these skills in my career growth.

How has working with the faculty contributed to your success? How do they challenge you?
The faculty has been amazing. Faculty members challenge students with thought-provoking assignments and projects can contribute to their academic growth. Challenging tasks encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and the development of a deeper understanding of the subject matter. They have provided constructive feedback, always encouraging. The instructors are always accessible for questions or concerns. I have received a high level of support and guidance during this program.

What are your career goals after you graduate?
My goal is to obtain my DNP. I would also love to obtain a mid-wifery certification after my DNP. However, with the cost of education, personal life and family, if that is not an option, I would love to go into a management role.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program? 
Don’t second guess your desire to pursue your BSN. As I mentioned before, this was the best decision I have made and I would do it all over again. The program is 100% doable, it’s very feasible for a busy lifestyle, but also allows you time for your self-care.

Name: Elizabeth Perdue
Graduation year: 2024
Current job Behavioral health homes nursing supervisor at Nystrom Counseling 

What has been beneficial about the program
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to get support from professors and timely communication. This program is set up for people to succeed and grow in their nursing careers. Many others and I work full-time and the program is structured to support busy people while still providing quality education.

How has working with the faculty contributed to your success? 
They have led by example in terms of showing passion for the nursing field, passion to educate other nurses and providing continuing support. In doing this, they have encouraged me to be a support system for other nurses. They promote research, knowledge and assessing situations from evidence-based information and they stand by adhering to high standards of ethics and morals.

Even though this is an online program, do you still feel connected to faculty and other students? 
Yes, I do. We have Immersion courses that we all come together over Zoom. We have discussions and flipgrid assignments that allow us to learn from each other and to interact. Faculty encourages us to communicate with them and with others in class to increase success in the program and provide cohesion.

What are your career goals after you graduate? 
I will be attending another university for my Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in May 2024.

What would you like prospective students to know about the program? 
If you are looking to grow in knowledge, grow in your career and have options to go up the ladder in leadership, with support and tools for success, then I would recommend this program.


Apply now to advance your nursing career. Visit the official NDSU YouTube page for more on the RN to BSN program.

Start your NDSU experience by completing your application.